sWinging It – Introduction and Week 1

sWinging It

Learnin’ to Lindy where everyone’s friendly

Who is this guy?

Hello. I’m Dan.

I’ve been learning Lindy Hop from scratch with the fine people at Manchester Lindy. I’ve enjoyed it so much I wanted to write about it and they very kindly let me. When I’m not dancing I am working in Manchester as an IT contractor (or Data Monkey as some call it), or I am back at home with my wife and child in the South of England. I try to make every Tuesday at the Freemasons’ Hall (I don’t know when I’ll be working somewhere else).

If you are brave or foolish enough to fancy a dance with me, look for the balding man with the ginger and white beard (or the only one that will admit it). I don’t think I’ve said no to anyone yet!

What’s this all about?

This blog is about my personal journey learning Lindy Hop (and Solo Jazz!) with the great people at Manchester Lindy. It’s a mind dump, so will be full of thoughts and feelings and anything I have (hopefully) discovered along the way. You will not learn anything about dancing reading this (I’m the one learning). I may even ‘discover’ misconceptions – please, please, please call me out on those!

Finally, it’s about me learning to dance at Manchester Lindy so I am highly likely to mention (by description or first name) people there. If you don’t want to be mentioned please contact me (danielbrianpotter (at) gmail.com) or Manchester Lindy (manchesterlindy (at) gmail.com) and I will make sure you aren’t included (and remove you from anything you were in).

Week 1

I’m excited. I’ve just found out where I can go learn Lindy Hop. I’ve always wanted to but never been able to make it work. As a bonus they teach Solo Jazz as well! I’m away from my wife and child in the week so this is something I can practice on my own. It’s a nice evening at the start of September. I’m going to go and give it a try.

The beginner’s lesson is fun. Two people are teaching so everyone sees the movements of both parts of the partnership. They refer to themselves (and us) as a lead (I knew that I’m not clueless) and a follow (OK I didn’t know that…). The follow teacher has loads of cool tattoos (Editors note: Thanks Daniel!) but looks friendly and often does some cool twisty thing with her legs whenever the lead sends her away from him. That looks great but back in my world I’m discovering it’s actually quite hard to fit three steps into two counts (sensibly called a triple-step). Especially so when you are also thinking about everything else you should be doing. I am, however,  having lots of fun learning.

We are all paired up with a follow (I’m a lead). The follows get moved on every now and then so I end up practising with a lot of different people. We are learning  a lot of moves and stringing them together into something we could practice on the dance floor later. I introduce myself to a lot of people during this. They all seem friendly as they tell me their name. I forget them all. I don’t expect anyone to remember my name. I’m so busy watching, trying moves and enjoying myself I can’t even remember the teacher’s names.

I go to Solo Jazz after the beginners’ class. It’s run this week by a short lady who sounds Scottish (at least to me, which means she is probably Italian, German, or maybe, Welsh). Of course I don’t remember her name (editors note: That’ll be Amy). We learn a whole Solo Jazz routine. I’m knackered by the end of it. After drinking several cups of water I manage to ask the name of the song so I can practice at home. “We cats will swing for you”, she says. I thank her. I want to go to the social dancing but I’m dripping with sweat and feel like I’ve run a marathon (it’s not the lesson – I’m unfit). I go home and promise myself I will do some more exercise. I’ve had great fun and I want to do it again next week without feeling an imminent heart attack.